Your Home Inspection Checklist—Outdoors

Are you ready to sell your home? If so you’ll need to have it inspected by a professional certified home inspector. You will get a thorough report on your home’s condition, and you’ll know what needs to be done before you put it on the market.

Before you hire a home inspector take a look at doing a pre-inspection first. All you need to do is write down anything that looks like it needs attention or is out of the ordinary.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the list that you have written down. The inspector will be glad to go over your list with you. These questions will also help you if you need other professional service people.

For now we’ll focus on things to look at around the outside of your home.

* Check for cracks in the asphalt or concrete on your driveway, sidewalks, and paths. These can cause people to trip and can also collect water that will do more damage during cold months. These will be noticed by buyers and buyer’s inspector so fixing them now is important.

* Make sure retaining walls have no bulges or loose areas. A heavy rain or snowfall could cause a mud slide. Check to see that any weep holes built into the wall are clear.

* Examine porches and decks. Look for sagging floors, sagging roofs. loose rails or boards. Also check for damaged steps. Check to see if posts are firmly rooted in the ground or that they’re not rotted out of their footing.

* Look at fences and stone walls, and their gates. Be alert for leaning and loose parts, which could fall or blow off during a storm. Make sure the gates work properly and easily. When the property is being shown you don’t want buyers struggling with a gate that just needs a little attention and maintenance.

* Look for stains on your home’s siding. Stains could be a sign of a water problem or roof trouble. If the siding is dirty power wash it yourself or hire someone to clean it.

* Observe where paint is peeling, brick mortar is missing, or stucco is cracking on siding.

* Look for signs of insect or bird nests in and under eaves or attic vents. Check for animal waste and try to figure out what could have left it.

* Check to see if the chimney is leaning. Also check the condition of the flashing. Is it peeling up or missing?

* Check gutters and downspouts for debris. Are they positioned properly for good drainage? You may need to observe this sometime when it’s raining. Check the undersides of gutters as well. Stains could indicate a leak.

* Carefully examine the foundation for cracks and bulges.

* Take a look at the sill at the base of your home’s framework. Check for rot and insects. Look for raised mud channels. These indicate the presence of termites. Use a sharp knife to see how much the wood gives.

* See whether the grade of the ground around the foundation slopes away from the house.

* Look at the roofing. Are there missing shingles, cracks, or crumbling pieces? Check for shingles that are dry, blistering, or curling. Look for splits or rot in wood. Check slate and tile roofs for broken pieces. Look for holes in flat roofs.

* Check the flashing and vent/chimney caps for missing or damaged parts. Also look for rust.

* Look for moss and other debris on the roof.

* Look carefully under trees where falling branches or jumping animals could have done damage. In the fall when leaves are off the trees, look more closely to see where branches touch the house.

Being familiar with your home inside and out will give you an advantage when dealing with your home inspector and prospective buyers. Simple repair and maintenance before putting your home on the market can make your home sell more quickly.

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